Top Medical School Students Share Their Reading Habits

Top Medical School Students Share Their Reading Habits to Succeed in School


It’s no secret that those in medical school do a lot of reading. Students have to study biology, anatomy, and everything else under the sun that those in the medical field need to know. Additionally, students have to find some time to read for the sake of reading, which can be tough, but doable when students are organized and productive. To find out the reading habits of the top medical students, we turned to surveys and studies that showed reading practices students at the top of their class found helpful. Below are the frequencies, benefits, and struggles students reported, and solutions to maintaining good reading habits.

How much time do medical students devote to reading?

In a survey conducted by The Journal of the Association of American Medical College, they went out to learn the reading habits of medical students. Authors Bruce Leff MD and Michael G Harper MD reported that students spend 61% of their reading time in patient-related reading. They go on to report that students spent 17% for general reading in medicine, and another 22% of their reading practice was for test preparation. Students said the most valuable materials to read were pocket medicine or pocket books. To have something they could pull out while doing rounds is an excellent way to understand a diagnosis and find the right cure. You can be sure that you’re in good hands when you see a student reading a pocket book by your bedside!

How does reading benefit medical students?

Reading study materials is a medical student’s number one priority. Many students take reading to a whole new level to create a doctor-patient relationship before they officially put on the white coat. Akhilesh Pathipati, a fourth-year MD/MBA student at Stanford, explains why books got him interested in becoming a doctor. Pathipati says, “Medical students spend a lot of time reading, whether it’s research papers, case vignettes, or of course, First Aid. But amid the pathophysiology and biochemical mechanisms, I’ve tried to make a point of reading about science through a humanistic lens.” Various books outside of the required curriculum can help students with their reading habits in general and prepare them for the mental aspect of being a doctor.

What do medical students struggle with reading?

In another study by the Medical College King Saud University, they found what students struggled the most with. While pocket books are the go-to resource, the study suggested that students need to expand their resources. The Medical College King Saud University suggested students go online to seek out the most up to date information. Something you wouldn’t normally think is a good idea for a doctor to do, as the internet is full of incorrect medical information. Additionally, the survey found that (unsurprisingly) students have a lack of time to spend reading. The solution the study reported was to give students more time to read during their clinical rotation. That may seem impossible to some, but students can indeed find time by creating habits that will make their time more efficient.

Medical students have a lot on their plate! From going to lectures, medical rounds, and studying for exams, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!. One way to help with the stress of medical school is with speed reading. Our speed reading mastery course helps with focus, comprehension, and productivity. Check out all of our courses today and see how we can help you breeze through medical school!

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